Creating an Employee Benefits Package that Will Attract and Retain Talent

As you may have heard, our economy is doing quite well, and the unemployment rate is lower than it has been in many years. This boom has led to more opportunities for qualified applicants to find their dream jobs, and now is the ideal time for companies to bring in the best and brightest. However, there is a lot of competition among companies, often in your same industry, so you need to come up with a benefits package that will not only attract the top talent but keep them with your organization for the long haul.

Times have changed, and meager benefits such as free coffee and soda or the company lunch now and then are no longer enough to draw in the best people for your business. Instead, you need to think bigger, with benefits that both make a candidate’s professional life better and improve their personal lives as well.

Flexible Scheduling

The idea of driving into the office every day to work eight hours with a 30-minute lunch is no longer as appealing as it used to be. In fact, over 88% of candidates reported that having a flexible schedule was one of the most attractive factors when considering a job. People want to have a work-life balance, so they are not too stressed at the office, and they have time to care for their loved ones.

Flexible schedules could mean split shifts where an employee comes in a few hours in the morning and then returns later that evening. It could also entail a modified week where employees work four 10-hour days and have a three-day weekend. With either of these routines, people can schedule their appointments or set a predetermined day to spend with family. This schedule could also help the company: when employees know that management trusts them to work flexible hours, they can also be more productive.

The opportunity to work remotely for at least half of the week excites about 63% of applicants because it lets them skip a costly commute, save money on clothes, and allows the chance to work from the comfort of their own home. Providing this opportunity creates a feeling of trust between the employer and the employee and can also increase productivity and improve their health. Again, this benefit is a win-win for the company as it cuts costs on office space, utilities, and equipment.

Health Plans

These days, health insurance is more important than ever. When a company provides affordable, comprehensive, and easily accessible health insurance, they show that they genuinely care about the health of their workers, and potential candidates see that. In some cases, the only place that a person can afford health insurance is at their job, so it makes a big difference. 

A good health insurance plan shouldn’t drain the paycheck and should offer plenty of options and plans from which to choose. Great health plans will have a soft spot for pre-existing conditions. So if a warehouse worker had a bad back and wanted to go to a new job, they would want to know that if they were injured again, they would still be covered with the health plan, or at least under workers’ compensation insurance

Wellness programs are also great perks and could include complimentary gym memberships, smoking cessation programs, or healthy food or snack options at lunch. Some companies also have a wellness plan built into their health insurance premiums, so if the employee passes regular health assessments, their monthly payment would be lower. This is a unique benefit, so candidates will surely notice if your business includes this perk. The point is showing the potential employee that you genuinely care about their wellbeing.

Benefits for the Future

Getting a new job is no small task, so when people look for a place to work, they want a company that they can stay with for the foreseeable future. They also know that life happens, and things can change as the years go by. A company with great benefits understands this idea. If they offer perks that encourage employees to live their lives to the fullest, then the employee will appreciate the business even more. 

For instance, companies that offer extended paid time-off programs give the employee the impression that they are free to live a life outside of work. The time off also provides the employee the chance to refresh so they can return to the job more focused and productive. Your business should also offer a minimum of six weeks of paid family or paternal leave for both mothers and fathers. Again, this gives the impression that your company cares about their outside life and offers parents a chance to cherish their children, so they are happy when they return to work. 

A good retirement plan shows the candidate that you are hoping to retain and mold them at your company for the rest of their working career and people like that kind of job security. Retirement plans might include a pension plan or a 401k with an employer match. Some of the more highly ranked 401k plans include an incentive like a 6% match after the employee puts in 1% of their income or matching 100% of their first 6% of contributions. Companies that want to draw in more talent for the long term should highly consider such options. 

In the end, a company that genuinely values its employees will stand the test of time. People want to know that they are not working for a faceless organization, but instead, a business that truly appreciates its top talent. Incorporate these benefits now, and you could see an uptick in quality candidates.

Image Source: Unsplash

What Are the Best Team Collaboration Tools?

Everyone has heard of Slack and Zoom. You probably use them both every day.
But what are the other, lesser known — but as equally effective — team collaboration tools?

And, more importantly, how do they help?

Notion

We’re big fans of Notion at Cronofy. It allows us to collaborate on all kinds of documents in real time.

We can create Kanban boards, tables, to-do lists…you name it, Notion can do it. You can set pages to public, company-wide, team-wide, or keep them private.

Having a centralized tool like Notion means that all information is stored in one place and we can collaborate easily on things like copy, or see what each other is working on. It’s also been invaluable for me in the learning phase of my onboarding.  — Laura, Product Marketer

It’s completely flexible, which makes it super useful. We’ve been using it for a few months now, and we have no idea how we coped without it.
As our CTO Garry puts it:

If you’re not in the same office you have to be able to look at the same thing, even with a basic tool you’d be able to share documents, source code, etc.

It also has a desktop version, which means you can even use it offline.

Calendars

We’re all about calendars and connectivity here at Cronofy.

We can all see each others’ calendars, which makes it easier for us to know who’s in the office and who isn’t.

It reinforces our culture of transparency while also making it easier to schedule meetings with each other.

Calendars can be taken to the next level when they connect to the software we use every day:

It’s useful when our calendars connect with the software we use such as Slack and Zoom. We can schedule meetings with each other without flitting between multiple programs. — Kristina, Content Marketer

The time spent flitting between programs when scheduling meetings is time that gets wasted. Syncing calendars with software we use every day saves us hours every week.

GIT

As our Senior Developer Tom puts it:

Solid version control is a key part of any code-based workflow, but we literally could not be as effective team without being able to branch and merge our code. It allows us to work independently and safely combine all our efforts. As a bonus, the ability to review works-in-progress and collaborate on the same code at the same time makes all our work better.

Laptop

This one seems obvious, but you don’t realize just how important it is until yours breaks. This happened to one of our team members a couple of weeks ago.

Luckily we had a spare that she could use while hers was being repaired, but what if we hadn’t? It would’ve made it difficult for her to get her work done. We’re so reliant on the hardware that we use that we often forget how important it is to our day-to-day activities.

You should also ensure that the laptop you use is fit for the job. A salesperson will need something portable, for example, while a developer needs something with more processing power.

The right laptop means that you can connect with your coworkers easily, wherever you are in the world.

Of course, a good laptop is nothing without an internet connection when you’re talking to your colleagues, so make sure you have a speed that can handle video conferencing, too.

Conclusion

Giving your team the right tools to collaborate with is vital to their success in their role. It also plays a major role in the success of your company.

The easier it is for employees to connect and collaborate, the more likely they are to do so. This improves communication between teams, which can be reflected in communication with customers, and therefore their experience and opinion of your brand.

Better communication also leads to happier employees and a more productive working environment.

Find out more about our favorite team collaboration tools over on the Cronofy blog.

What Technologies Might Replace Human Resource Professionals?

One recurring concern surrounding technology in the workplace is the potential replacement of living workers. In fact, this concern has been with us since the industrial revolution, with the introduction of factory machinery even prompting the formation of Luddite groups in opposition. Today we’re unlikely to respond in quite the same violent manner, but we are nonetheless wary of how machinery might make us obsolete.

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed a steep uptick in technological advancement and its introduction into the workplace, from robotics in manufacturing to artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnostic medicine. However, while some traditional tasks have been replaced by technological methods, machines are more likely to be used to support human talent rather than replace it. New technology has also shown potential for creating roles in entirely new industries.

The ebb and flow of labor due to change is well understood by those who specialize in human resource departments. But how could greater reliance upon tech impact the careers of HR professionals, themselves? Is there any cause for concern, and what opportunities might be presented?

Remote Teams

Remote work has proven something of a double-edged sword for some businesses. On one hand, technology has advanced to the point where we can employ a worldwide talent pool, yet we can’t always replicate the benefits evident in physical teams. While the trends lean toward remote workers primarily being used for project teams, 52% of companies that use virtual teams use this method in employing upper management, too. This tech advancement presents challenges for HR.

In this example, there is not a huge concern that remote technology might replace HR professionals. Rather, it is more likely to result in shifts in what is required and expected of those who take on these roles. There will be a need for HR professionals to understand how technology can enhance the hiring process — from utilizing artificial intelligence to narrow down potential candidates, to how best to use video conferencing during the interview process. What’s more, there may be an increased reliance on cloud services to track data and forms for all the remote employees, leading to a higher likelihood of data loss if members of HR are not up-to-date on their tech training.

It could also become necessary for HR professionals to gain a deeper understanding of company projects in order to best understand how to support individual teams and team members, especially when it comes to the nuances of hiring remote employees. In essence, this is an issue of leadership.

Nursing in the healthcare industry provides a useful illustration on this subject. Specifically, there is an emphasis on the need for transformational leaders who understand the technology being utilized and how it affects the holistic operation within work environments. Similarly, HR professionals need to grasp how remote employees best operate in order to provide services which have a beneficial impact on the entire company.

Training and Development

It is perhaps more helpful to look at the implementation of HR technology as a way to lighten the load of day-to-day duties, rather than a threat to the sector. One of the ways in which we are already starting to see digital platforms becoming useful is in learning and development. This is particularly important in businesses where L&D and HR roles are combined.

Educational technology (EdTech) has been useful in reducing the need for a dedicated staff member to be present during every aspect of training, for example. While HR and L&D professionals may need to become savvier in the initial building and ongoing maintenance of training programs to be delivered via EdTech platforms, once designed, there is relatively little need for supervision, and the in-person aspects of the course can be scheduled for convenience.

Thankfully, this is already in line with how most employees prefer to work. Millennial HR professionals will likely already be comfortable utilizing technology in various aspects of their work, and studies show that employees, in general, are keen to improve their digital skills. This bodes well for advanced technology that HR workers may need to introduce into training scenarios, including the rising popularity of virtual reality (VR) in corporate learning spaces.

Closer Human and Technology Relationship

One of the ways in which it’s important to look at technology’s role in any industry is through the lens of collaboration. Rather than simple replacement, elements of technology could prove to boost HR professionals in their daily responsibilities — enhancements that allow them to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.

Combining technology with our bodies might seem like a drastic step straight out of a sci-fi novel, but it may also hold the key to more efficient working practices. Biohacking is, in essence, a method through which we can use scientific knowledge and equipment to better understand and utilize our bodily processes, including augmentation to optimize our bodies and brains in order to achieve our full potential. The success of any business often relies upon the productivity of its staff members, after all — so is it beyond the realm of possibility that HR professionals could develop expertise in this area which could help make themselves and staff more effective in their roles?

We’re not quite at the stage where chips are being implanted into brains, but biohacking isn’t just about hardware. Technology could be implemented to keep HR professionals and staff in routines that are beneficial to their health and productivity, too. Sensors connected through the internet of things could monitor life signs and activities, and recommendations could be made for supplements, or Nootropics, which could enhance cognitive performance. This combination of analysis, scientific knowledge, and augmentation may become part of the HR landscape as part of a generalized employee wellness plan, ensuring not only day-to-day productivity, but also minimizing areas of inefficiency such as sick days.

Conclusion

It may be time to ask fewer questions about whether machines will replace workers, and spend more time discovering how technology can evolve the roles already being performed. For HR professionals, there are exciting opportunities being presented by our rising digital landscape. By understanding how they can best form a collaborative relationship with technology, human resources departments can help give their companies a competitive edge in a constantly changing labor environment.

Image Source: Pexels

Brighten employee spirits this holiday season with more flexibility and choice

While the holidays are a source of happiness and joy for many, more than 70% of Americans struggle to relax this time of year, and nearly half worry about finding the perfect gift. It’s become such a problem that 30% of Americans wish they could ditch gift-giving altogether. Others are bogged down by the rush to keep up with activities and expectations. Organizations need to recognize these pressures and make sure they are connecting with employees during this stressful period. They can start – and pave the way for a wonderful 2020 – right now.

Holiday cheer through the new year and beyond

Employers can celebrate the season with any number of team-focused events, including potlucks, dinners or even a quick brunch. There’s no wrong way to do it – all that matters is that the team feels supported and appreciated.

And it doesn’t have to end with the arrival of the new year. Businesses can continue to boost employee morale by hosting group yoga sessions, company-wide charity fundraisers, or a trip to a local event or museum.

This is especially important when considering the research on employee wellness. Our study of 2,000 employees found that almost a third (31%) are kept awake at night by workplace stressors, including their interactions with management and colleagues. This further highlights the tremendous impact the workplace can have on someone’s mental health. In providing a little holiday and new year cheer, businesses can make a big difference and improve employee wellbeing.

The gift that keeps on giving

The vast majority (80%) of HR decision makers agree that flexible working arrangements are important when considering talent retention. In other words, businesses are in a unique position to give the ultimate gift this holiday season: time.

Most employees would value the opportunity to start their day a couple hours early. This would allow them to avoid rush hour and still make it home in time to cook a holiday feast. Others might benefit from a later schedule that allows them to catch up on sleep before the next family visit. For jobs that can be performed from any location, employees would also appreciate the option to work remotely. In turn, employers could reap the benefits of increased productivity.

A present just for them

Gift cards have become one of the most popular gifts during the holiday shopping season. Compared to a homemade scarf or knitted sweater, it might not feel like the most personal option. But it’s very personal to the recipient, who can choose which items to purchase.

Wellness pots – the “gift card” of employee benefits – offer a similar level of freedom. With the flexibility to spend money on things that meet their needs, they are a great way to support employees’ mental and physical wellbeing during the year’s most stressful periods. Whether drum lessons, mindfulness programs or art classes, wellness pots make it easy for employees to choose exactly what they want.

Brighten their spirits

Don’t let the stress of the holidays bring the most wonderful time of the year to a screeching halt. It can be a time of loneliness and anxiety, but organizations can play a huge role in changing that. They can bring employees together for festive gatherings and outings that support their mental and social well being. Businesses can also offer flexible working arrangements that allow each employee to decide when and/or where to start their day. And by empowering their teams with wellness pots, they can provide an unprecedented level of employee choice. Best of all, these benefits can be used to support employees long after the holidays are over – a win-win for any time of the year.

Top 5 Destinations for Relocating from Hong Kong as an Investor

There is no denying the benefit of obtaining a second passport and residency rights in a country other than your own. From having the ability to leverage the passport to travel the world or enjoy the benefits a country has to offer to its citizens, all the way to obtaining a right to relocate your life and your career when you see fit, having a second passport is the best way to make it happen. This is something that property investors from Hong Kong are increasingly looking into in recent years, and especially in recent times during the unstable political trends taking place in the city-state.

While the Hong Kong real estate market remains an appealing prospect for new and seasoned investors, it’s important to start looking beyond its borders in search of more lucrative opportunities – ones that bring other benefits to the table such as permanent residency or even citizenship. Let’s take a look at the most promising destinations you can relocate to as a Hong Kong real estate investor.

Canada

Over the decades, the Canadian real estate market has remained steady and relatively unwavering in the face of new socio-economic trends, which makes the country and especially it’s biggest cities some of the best locations for overseas property investors. Not only does Canada enjoy a stable economy in its own right, but it also has numerous investment opportunities for those seeking to monetize rental homes as well as to flip properties for a profit.

This is because tourism in Canada is high on a year-round basis, but also because many people from around the world are relocating there and are looking to purchase homes of their own. That said, keep in mind that low-cost real estate in Canadian cities is virtually non-existent, so get ready for a cumbersome first investment.

Spain

Among the more affordable investment destinations in the world is Spain, a somewhat unstable economy that has left many amazing properties vacant and ripe for the picking by a skilled investor from overseas. But the best part about investing in Spain’s real estate market is that the local government allows investors to apply for a golden visa and gain permanent residency by buying property worth as little as 500,000 euros. While Spain is more expensive than Greece or Portugal in this regard, the country offers expedited golden visa applications and allows investors to obtain permanent residency much faster, making it easier to relocate in a hurry should the need arise.

Indonesia

Some investors might not be looking to relocate to a faraway destination, and are looking for lucrative real estate opportunities in countries that are closer to home. Luckily, the Southeast Asian market offers many prospects, of which Indonesia might be the most appealing one due to its year-round tourism and rapid urbanization.

That said, acquiring real estate as a foreigner might be tricky without experienced help, which is why Chinese investors are getting in touch with reputable firms such as Invest Islands to get the legal guidance necessary to obtain a property quickly, keep the law on their side, and relocate to this paradise country. The country’s proximity to Hong Kong makes it especially appealing to Chinese investors, as you will be able to stay close to your other assets and manage your portfolio with ease.

Portugal

Next to Spain, quite literally, Portugal is yet another European country that might be appealing to foreign investors because of its year-round tourism and the increasing urbanization of its coastal regions where people from around the world are vacationing in greater numbers. 

Add to that the fact that more and more people are looking for a home in these sunny and warm regions, and you have a promising destination with a long-term ROI potential. This real estate market is all about buying cheap properties and renovating them to appeal to the modern buyer, though, so it will take some time and hard work to monetize the investment. 

Turkey

Finally, the biggest city in Turkey, Istanbul, is currently one of the top investment hubs for foreign investors in the world, simply due to the recent political turmoil that has deterred many business leaders from investing. This is your opportunity to capitalize on a market where properties are extremely cheap, and the prices of labor and materials are low, which means that you will be able to flip a property with minimal financial waste and offer it to the millions of tourists pouring into the city on an annual basis.

Wrapping up

As property investors from Hong Kong are increasingly looking to diversify their portfolios into foreign markets, it’s important to find the destinations that not only offer favorable investment terms, but also provide other valuable benefits. Consider these countries for your growth strategy and invest in a destination where you can relocate with ease.

5 Ways HR Can Learn from Project Managers

What do the departments of project management and human resources have in common? As it turns out, more than you may expect.

Although it may be news to some, many of the skills needed to manage the various intricate components of a project are the same as those required to hire, promote, and protect the employees of a company. Both positions include juggling a lot of pieces while also providing positive results. Here are five tips that HR personnel can learn from the project management team.

1. Planning

Planning is an essential step for all project managers. As soon as they are faced with a new need or assignment, the first step is to go to the drawing board and think about all possible solutions, and then figure out deadlines for completion, what staffing will be required, and any other additional needs. HR employees must take the same steps when it comes to filling the needs of the company and its assorted departments.

Just like with project management, it is all about defining what success looks like for the current needs and working toward them. How will success be measured? Are you looking to find anyone to fill a vacant position, or are you searching for candidates that can advance and grow with the company? What new positions may be needed in the future? These questions must be answered before the recruiting process can even begin.

2. Avoiding Pitfalls

Because of the complexity and impending deadlines associated with major projects, common pitfalls must be avoided so the process can move along as easily as possible. Some common project pitfalls might include a sudden procedural change or a project member dropping the ball on their personal responsibilities. Project managers must have contingency plans, and so should HR professionals.

Common pitfalls for HR managers might include limited awareness of employee rights, a failure to complete proper paperwork, or limited knowledge of disciplinary procedures. A major concern would be the loss of an employee from a team that is already understaffed. Plans must be created before potential pitfalls cause issues for your business. Create organizational charts and introduce training classes that ensure that every individual in your HR department is fully trained on their responsibilities, so all bases are covered.

3. Collaboration

Since a project manager is working with so many separate parts that are handled by an army of team members, there must be a good system of collaboration. Project managers need to understand that they don’t know it all and that their team should be involved in the planning process. This is the same in the HR department.

There are a variety of responsibilities within the human resources team, from employee relations and benefits to payroll and hiring. The trick is to work as one fluid group to ensure that the proper employees are hired, that they have all the necessary benefits and signed paperwork, and that they end up becoming a happy and productive member of the team. To achieve this balance, proper communication is necessary, so have a meeting with all staff members where a consensus can be reached for creating the best system of collaboration.

It is also essential for human resources staff to communicate effectively with the supervisors of each team in their business so they can know what needs are necessary. Managers should always have the ability to reach out to HR for important employee matters. Additionally, HR should also have an open-door policy for employees who have personal concerns.

4. Tracking

The job of a project manager is not one filled with rest and relaxation. Instead, constant attention is needed for projects that are often complex in nature. The only way for one person to take control of the chaos is with an effective tracking system that accounts for the movement of each team member, including what has been completed and what is still pending.

Human resources also involves many moving parts, and luckily, there are systems available for better employee management. When it comes to hiring, applicant tracking systems can provide stability as they keep track of current applicants, rank them in terms of ability to do the job, and ensure that all paperwork is presented. For current employees, you can take advantage of personnel tracking software that tracks employee paperwork, tax information, and certifications, among other important records.

5. Managing Personality Types

When project managers assemble their team, they understand that even though everyone comprehends the main goal of the project, every member of the team is not the same. Each employee has their own processes, motivations, and work ethic. Still, the manager must be able to understand these traits so they can bring out the best in every member.

Similarly, in human resources, the goal is to keep employees content. The employees of your company also have different motivations and levels of success that they want to achieve. It is important to work to those traits and promote those who deserve the opportunity. Employees also have different motivators. Some may be happy with a monthly bonus, while others prefer a fixed schedule. It is the job of HR to understand the core of each worker.

Yes, the HR and project management teams have much in common, and the professionals who best harness these skills will see the most success. Adding these traits will lead to happier employees in both arenas.

Image Source: Unsplash 

Three Facts Highlight the Disparity Between Single and Married Employees

More than 110 million Americans over the age of 18 are currently unmarried, but many companies have been slow to adjust to support modern relationships, creating an unnecessary value gap between married and single employees.

Looking to dig a little deeper, we asked 300 U.S. HR decision makers about the differences in their benefits programs based on employees’ marital status. We found that an overwhelming 90% of companies offer additional benefits to employees who are married. Disparities between single and married co-workers can be seen across the entire benefits ecosystem with everything from PTO to healthcare and flexible working. Here are four ways singles are losing out to their married counterparts.

1) Unmarried employees have less time to spend with family and friends – and it’s costing them

Unfortunately for most, if you are unmarried you are likely to receive less PTO than if you are legally married. There are significant monetary differences here: married employees receive an average of 3.6 additional days off compared to those who are not. Those days could come in the form of additional paid time off for a wedding and/or honeymoon in the case of 22% of companies. With the U.S. median household income at $56,516 (or $217 per working day), single employees are missing out on approximately $775 in PTO value.

Married employees also receive healthcare contributions totaling $461.80 per month on average. That’s more than $100 extra than the average amount paid to employees who are single ($344.35). Multiplied over a 10-year period, single employees can expect to miss out on $14,094 in healthcare benefits compared to their married counterparts.

As if that weren’t enough, married employees also receive additional pension contributions from 34% of companies.

2) They get fewer days to care for relatives in need

The Family Caregiver Alliance reported that in 2019 there were approximately 39.8 million caregivers providing care to adults with a disability or illness in the U.S. This amounts to a sizeable number of Americans (17%) who need additional family support outside of caring for children.

While almost three quarters of companies offer weeks of paid family leave to employees with children, only 44% offer that option to those who have other family caregiver responsibilities – that’s a 26% gap between the two.

3) They are presented with fewer working options

There is a strong belief that married employees, and especially parents, should be prioritized when it comes to flexible working. More than half of HR decision makers say their firms offer 4-day work weeks to employees with children versus 36% who offer it to everyone. HR decision makers justify this preferential treatment, with 69% saying that “flexible working is more important for colleagues with children.”

More than 60% agree that the benefits system currently works best for the nuclear family model and that “it’s unfair that colleagues without partners don’t receive the same flexible benefits as those that have partners or children.” Despite their acknowledgement that change is needed, they have yet to make flexible arrangements equally available across their workforce.

Personalization is the answer

The importance of benefits flexibility, choice and personalization cannot be overemphasized. More than 80% of HR decision makers agreed that all employees should have access to personalized benefits that suit them best. Unfortunately, only 59% are actually offering these to all employees. And of those respondents who do not yet offer personalized options, just 15% are planning to do so in the future.

Now is the time for greater recognition of diverse lifestyle choices and new family structures in the workplace. The current strategy – in which organizations reward some employees but not others – will only breed resentment. Instead of getting more out of those who are single, companies could wind up with employees who are unhappy with their working arrangements. Unhappy employees are less productive and less likely to remain loyal to their employer, creating another unnecessary issue: turnover.

If organizations want to attract and retain top talent, they need to understand that fair treatment must be extended to everyone. Failing to do so could lead to unintentional discrimination against the average single person. By carefully evaluating the needs of every employee, companies of all shapes and sizes can create a benefits offering that’s truly appreciated – and is valuable and inclusive for all.

Prioritizing Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health was once a sensitive topic that people avoided discussing. Now, it is being perceived more as an elephant in the room that cannot be avoided, especially in the workplace. Thanks to research and awareness, organizations are realizing that mental health and employee productivity are interconnected, and topics should be discussed as such. With this realization, there is more discussion happening amongst supervisors and business owners alike on how workplace environments can improve, so that employee’s mental health can thrive.

The financial implications of mental health and substance abuse amongst employees and in the workplace costs employers between $79 and $105 billion annually, according to the Center for Prevention and Health. The bottom line is that prioritizing mental health in the workplace has more benefits than it does disadvantages, including financially. If you need tips regarding how to go about it, continue reading below.

Look for Ways to Address Anxiety

Doing what you can to help ease anxiety at work is a way to prioritize mental health. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has found that American employees are most likely to report anxiety symptoms and use prescription medication. It also found that 28% have had an anxiety or panic attack at some point. Although you can’t manage their anxiety for them, you can create a more relaxing environment and reduce potential triggers to ensure a safe and calm workspace to be productive in.

Examples of stressors that could be triggering employees are deadlines, conflicts with employees, high expectations, and a lack of work-life balance. Not only can they increase anxiety symptoms, but it could result in reduced productivity.

To counter the effects of anxiety in the workplace, consider creating more flexibility when it comes to deadlines and encouraging better work-life balance for your employees. This could include outsourcing work in departments that are overburdened, as well as allowing flexible working arrangements, like the option to work remotely or to be flexible in individual work schedules. Another idea would be to regularly assess the needs of employees in both public and private meetings, and, most importantly, to take complaints seriously when they arise.

Implement Changes to Your Policy

You may need to introduce new business practices if you want to see long-lasting changes, especially when it comes to improving mental health environments in the workplace. In fact, only 40% of employees prioritize wellbeing in their benefits strategy, which is a missed opportunity for employers to ensure their employees are having their mental health taken care of. With this realization, consider updating company policies so they better encourage a healthier workplace for all employees, both physically, mentally, and emotionally.

To begin the journey of changing the atmosphere surrounding mental health, consider holding department meetings where you both outline the steps that will be taken to make changes, while also encouraging people to speak up and offer their own suggestions for improvement. These changes could be numerous, but should be implemented over time instead of all at once. An example of a simple introduction could be a policy that all employees must leave the office by 6 PM. Enforcement could include supporting employees who feel like they are falling behind so that they don’t have to stay long after normal hours, offering flexible working conditions, and closing up the office at the same time every evening and leaving in a group.

Making it mandatory that all managers have mental health training is another example of a policy that could work. The more knowledgeable they are on mental health challenges, the more support they can offer employees who work under them. It could also help eliminate the stigma around mental health and make employees feel more comfortable discussing their concerns with managers or HR. The idea should be to see how you can make changes at a policy level so that mental health is ingrained into your business values and practices, so that employees never question where the company or department stands. Doing this will not only help present employees, but could also help attract future employees, all while building a more supportive workplace.

Consider Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support is a tangible way of helping employees and making them feel like more than a dollar sign. Updating policies to allow for emotional support animals in addition to service animals in the office is an option to explore. A single designated office dog could be another means to help with stress management, as dogs are proven to help reduce stress.

Simply petting a dog is said to increase oxytocin levels and reduce cortisol. A 2012 study that looked at how an office dog affects stress levels also found that those who brought their dogs to work found their stress levels declining throughout the course of the day. Other benefits of having a dog are increased productivity due to having to take your dog out for walks and creating more meaningful interactions with co-workers.

Having said that, for the sake of balance, acknowledging the cons of bringing a dog to work is important, too. Two core challenges you may face are dog behavior and the inconvenience it causes for those with dog allergies. You could bypass this issue by eliminating in-person contact. A way to do this would be by having employees who are allergic to dogs work in different parts of the building, giving them an enclosed work space, or allowing flexible working hours.

Provide Information and Resources

As mentioned earlier, you cannot resolve all of your employee’s mental health issues yourself, but you can provide support. Giving them information and resources that educate them on how to manage their mental health on their own could make them feel supported and build their resilience in the process.

For instance, to help them reduce anxiety and stress in and outside of the workplace, you could do a monthly training or workshop on stress management. You could also give them worksheets that they can refer back to when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Another idea would be to give them access to discounted or free gym memberships, encouraging them to exercise, which can be a great stress reliever too.

Aside from giving employees the resources they need to empower themselves, consider providing an EAP benefit. This gives employees access to a handful of free therapy sessions which could do wonders for their mental health. Having a professional to confide in could improve their wellbeing in the long run as therapy can help manage conditions like anxiety and depression as well as help improve relationships. Not having to worry about the cost may also be more of an incentive for them to take up the offer.

If you want reduced absent rates and a greater level of productivity, prioritizing mental health is one of many solutions. The above suggestions could also help you improve the mental health and wellbeing of your employees, which in turn, could result in a more vibrant business.

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The True Cost of Hiring the Wrong Employee

Image: Unsplash

Making one bad hire might not seem like a huge blip on the radar. However, the negativity associated with the wrong fit could send ripples throughout your organization. This can impact your business’s bottom line in a variety of ways.

Below are several ways hiring the wrong person can impact your business.

Budget

Taking the time to find the right candidate requires resources in time spent and the costs associated with paying for ads on job searching platforms. Then, when you bring the new hire in, there’s onboarding. After all of this, if the employee isn’t the right fit, you’ll have to repeat the process again, requiring more time and money spent.

How much could this cost your business? On average, one bad hire could set a company back $14,900 — and this is for just one employee. This number also doesn’t take into consideration the costs to replace them or to retain other employees. The Undercover Recruiter states bad hires cost organizations on average $240,000.

This is a sizeable expense that not only impacts your company’s bottom line, it can affect other areas of your business as well.

Employee Morale and Culture

Finding the right fit both from a skillset and culture fit perspective benefits both the new employee and your current employees.

However, what happens if the culture isn’t the right fit? A change in culture could lead to more stress on the job for everyone involved, especially if there are clashes in communication styles or a drop in production. In turn, this could result in your employees looking for other employment opportunities.

Rounding back to the budget, retention is a key driver of hiring costs. It isn’t cost-effective to hire the best fit alone, you also want to retain your employees, as this reduces training and onboarding costs and improves employee morale since everyone fits in together; this is why company culture plays a huge role in finding the right fit.

One bad hire could disrupt community continuity. While it’s good to hire candidates who provide fresh, valuable perspectives to your business, it’s also important to examine how they fit into the department they’ll be in. Will their communication styles mesh well with others in their department? Do they share the same occupational values?

These are important considerations because you want to make the transition as seamless as possible. When there are cultural disruptions, it can impact your company and the customers you serve.

Customer Experience

Your customer experiences are vital to your organization’s success. If you hire the wrong person in a client-facing position, then it’s your company that will suffer from a loss in sales.

The reason for this is that brands want to provide a unified approach to communicating with customers. This gives clients the perspective that everyone in the organization is on the same page — a key indicator of a well-run company. If you hire someone who doesn’t grasp or, even worse, doesn’t care about the company’s identity, this will show itself when speaking with customers. This could damage your company’s reputation irreversibly.

Driving Away Potential Hires

When prospective employees search for jobs, they have more tools at their disposal now than ever before. One way they examine whether a company is right for them is by reading employee reviews on sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. Some may also read customer reviews to gauge how well an employer treats their clients.

With these factors in mind, if you made the wrong choice(s) as it relates to hiring, employees will take notice of this. This could reflect in employee reviews of a company, as they question leadership’s decision-making abilities. As a prospective employee, reading these kinds of reviews will make you think twice about applying with them. After all, if there are inherent problems in leadership, how good can the company culture be?

Culture is everything to employees, and reputation is everything to employers. So, here’s how to hire the right candidates the first time.

Employing Best Practices

You want to take your time to find the best fit for your company. Doing this requires a concerted effort among everyone involved in the hiring process from senior and departmental leadership to even your IT team, who can use AI to help you craft accurate and engaging job descriptions.

Along with an accurate job description, you want to create benefit packages that attract and retain the best talent. This makes your employees feel valued and gives them more incentives to participate. Furthermore, when you do find good prospective candidates, it’s important to test their skills. This is where skill assessments are vital. Not only does this allow the candidate to showcase whether or not they can do some of the duties of the job, but it also tests the validity of their resume.

Lastly, you want to build a company culture that finds, welcomes, and nurtures the right fit for your organization’s needs. As part of this process, you’ll want to establish an onboarding program that clearly defines your company’s culture and how your employee(s) fit into it. This will help them transition into the role while also knowing what’s expected of them.

Ultimately, hiring the wrong employee can have a multi-pronged effect that could affect all areas of your business. By using these tips, you increase your chances of hiring the right employee the first time.

5 Ways to Leverage Your Tech Skills to Kick-Start a Wealthy Career

To work in tech means to exploit and capitalize on one of the biggest and most lucrative industries in the world. Technology is an inextricable part of our everyday life, it shapes whole industries, and needless to say, every company needs tech-savvy employees to drive all of their processes from app development to website maintenance, from HR to sales, and all across the board. Needless to say, if you have some tech skills, you should have no problem monetizing them in this tech-driven day and age. 

That said, it’s also important to note that long-term success is not guaranteed, especially when you consider the fact that technology is constantly evolving, and so the need for growth-oriented employees and professionals continues to rise as a result. Provided that you’re willing to learn and evolve your skills with the prevailing trends, let’s take a look at the five best ways you can leverage your expertise to kick-start a wealthy career.

Image editing and video production

Digital content is what drives the modern business world forward, which means that every company needs to keep dishing out amazing content on a regular basis in order to execute their marketing strategies, appeal to and engage the modern online audience, and of course, get on Google’s good side. Now, while it is true that written content (blogs and the like) is king in the digital world, this doesn’t mean that you need to be a writer to make some amazing content. This is because visual content is equally important, and not just for marketing purposes.

If you consider yourself to be somewhat of a Photoshop whizz or if you’re versed in the art and science of video editing, you could be taking on various interesting projects for businesses of all sizes, national and well as international given the flexible nature of the job. From marketing materials, to internal documents, images, and explainer videos, there is no shortage of opportunities in this field.

Creating brands and their visual identities

Speaking of visual content, one of the most important elements of long-term success in the modern business world is, of course, branding. Experienced business leaders (as well as novices who do their research) understand the importance of proper brand-building in this competitive day and age, because having a strong brand identity is just about the only thing that can really make a business stand out from the rest. Without a brand, a business is just another player in a sea of competitors.

This is where you come in as the branding professional everyone needs, and are willing to pay a hefty sum for your talents. Now, branding is a bit different than image or video editing, as it not only involves strategic thinking and brainstorming, but also creative content creation – from scratch. When you’re working with a business leader on creating a brand, you will be tasked to create a brand’s identity from scratch in order to build a unique image that will resonate with the hearts and minds of the target demographic. Needless to say, this is a lucrative calling that requires tech skills as well as creative thinking.

Proprietary software development

Speaking of lucrative callings, one of the most lucrative industries in the world is, naturally, the financial sector. Concretely, tech-savvy professionals with adequate coding experience can find numerous lucrative opportunities in the Forex market, and build proprietary software for leading brands such as Ever Forex as well as making sure that all platforms are functioning properly on a 24/7 basis to ensure stellar customer experience. 

The key driver of this demand is sheer necessity, as broker firms in the financial sector cannot afford a single minute of downtime, which means that they will gladly pay for a professional who can keep the platform up and running without a hitch. While it might take you some time to familiarize yourself with the specifics of the industry and the unique idiosyncrasies of a given platform, the time you spend educating yourself will be well worth the investment in the long run.

Website development and upkeep

Another lucrative field that could never lose its popularity is web development and upkeep. Again, website-building and maintenance is something that every business needs nowadays, but it’s also a career path that will continue to yield significant financial returns for years to come. That said, keep in mind that web development is a pretty competitive field, so it’s important to really nail your skillset and diversify your portfolio if you want to land some lucrative contracts.

Digital marketing

On a final note, always remember that digital marketing offers a wealth of opportunities for those of you with a knack for online marketing, and a skillset necessary to create captivating ads and online content. Given the fact that digital marketing encompasses numerous effective tactics, you can pick and choose your niche or even become an all-around digital marketer to boost your chances of landing a high-paying job in a company that needs everything from SEO to SEM, from social media management and email marketing, to landing page and app development. 

Wrapping up

There is no shortage of lucrative opportunities in this tech-driven day and age, so don’t think that only programmers get to make an honest living in the tech sector. Rather, you can explore these fields further to find your true calling and kick-start a wealthy career.